BlizzCon 2016 was a remarkable affair. With plenty of new content on the way for #Diablo3, #HeroesOfTheStorm and #StarCraft2, Blizzard has become well accustomed to outbreaks of rapturous applause from their committed fanbase. However, for all the excitement generated by Blizzard's beloved IPs, nothing could match the anticipation and fervor for the heralded arrival of #Overwatch.
Blizzard has been teasing a new character for their dynamic multiplayer shooter for quite some time and with the reveal of Sombra on the BlizzCon stage, months of speculation and secrets have come to an end in the best way possible. But there's a lot more on the way for Overwatch than a new character, and one of the biggest updates will see changes made to one of the game's most famous and controversial elements: Play of the Game.
Overwatch: Play of the Game 2.0
Play of the Game has become an industry wide meme. Even those who haven't played Overwatch are familiar with the mechanic. But the format for Play of the Game has always enjoyed a healthy dose of controversy. While it often rewards some truly remarkable plays, it often neglects the performance of others or simply shows Bastion walking for a few seconds. In order to combat the backlash, Blizzard spoke briefly about what they're calling Play of the Game 2.0.
“We are tweaking it regularly, but not massively revamping it,” lead hero designer Geoff Goodman told me during an interview at BlizzCon. - Kotaku
New Camera Work Plus Multiple Characters?
One of the main frustrations players have with this feature is how it can neglect the performance of a character that was pivotal in the execution of a lot of kills, or at least in the set up of them. Geoff Goodman referenced these points at BlizzCon:
“There’s a plan to do what we’re calling Play of the Game 2.0,” he said. “It’s been on the books for a little while. It’s just a matter of prioritizing everything. We have a lot of really cool ideas. We want to do a lot with the camera work. We have ideas for cooperative Play of the Games. Because what we have right now, is Zarya could ult, and then Genji gets the credit. And that’s like, ‘Come on!’”
“So we want to highlight the combo play itself, to show both,” he added. “There’s some tricky things there, like how do we handle Play of the Game intros, and how do we decide who gets credit.”
The new system Blizzard is dreaming up sounds really interesting. In fact, it's rather similar to an idea a fan dreamt up shortly after the game's release earlier this year.
It's a classic Overwatch situation. Zarya activates Graviton Surge and Pharah swoops in with a Barrage, decimating the enemy team. The idea pitched involves both characters. The camera focuses on Zarya at first and then switches to the perspective of Pharah.
While this would undoubtedly be difficult for an algorithm to pull off as smoothly as this video does, Blizzard did say that they were considering changes to the camera work. Perhaps we'll see an angle that won't be limited to the perspective of the characters? In any case, here's the mockup:
This'd certainly help quell some of the complaints players have leveled at Play of the Game's current iteration. The more characters that get attention, the better. Kotaku's Nathan Grayson even suggested that the game could add highlight intros showing heroes high-fiving, hugging or doing some special character-specific animations before the gameplay.
“I hadn’t even thought about that,” said Goodman. “That’s cool!”
Nice idea, Nathan! Let's hope they take it into consideration.
But what do you think? What would you like to see in Play of the Game 2.0?
What do you make of Play of the Game in Overwatch?
Have you seen the greatest Overwatch animated short to date? You must check this out!